Amazing! He was both spirit and flesh.

Jesus was busy on Resurrection Sunday.   He appeared on the Road to Emmaus, to the women in the garden, to Peter and to a gathering of disciples in a closed room. John records this appearance in John 20:19-22.  I like the Amplified translation as it makes Peacewhat happened clearer. 19 So when it was evening on that same day, the first day of the week, though the disciples were [meeting] behind barred doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” 20 After He said this, He showed them His hands and His side.”  The fact that Jesus appeared to them without opening the door tells us He was a spirit.   Yet, he showed them His hands and side that had been pierced at the cross which tells us He was physically real.  Only Jesus could be both in His resurrection body.  He begins with the common Hebrew greeting- ‘Peace to you’.  This shows Jesus’ love and sensitivity as perhaps they would have expected a harsh word from Jesus for abandoning Him after His arrest.  They received peace and warmth from their Savior not rebuke or criticism.  When the john 20 19disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with great joy. 21 Then Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you[as My representatives].” 22 And when He said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”  Their response to Jesus was pure joy!  Then He sent greetings of peace to them and gave them orders to tell others.   He was sending them with power from His Holy Spirit to go and be His representatives, telling others of His death, resurrection, salvation and forgiveness of sins.  Jesus breathed on them power that would sustain them until the coming of the Holy Spirit 50 days later at Pentecost.

romans 10 17What is your response to the risen Savior?  I’m sure the disciples had various reactions like joy that He was alive, curiosity about His wounds, questions about their purpose in life now that He is no longer teaching them day to day?  Jesus answered their questions, shared in their joy and gave them purpose.  It is the same purpose Jesus has for us- tell others the good news of the gospel.  He desires that everyone hear how He saves us from eternal punishment for our sins and forgives us, and Paul reminds us in Romans 10:17   “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”  Jesus sent them, and us too, into the world tell otherswhere we live to tell others the good news of Christ.  We have to speak out and speak up for Jesus.

Who will you joyfully tell today?

Linda

My entrance ticket is valid and being used daily, is yours?

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have entrance into His kingdom.  The gospels refer to the kingdom of God frequently.  Jesus said that one needs child like faith in God to gain entrance.  Mark 10:15  “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”  Jesus said that entrance would be harder for the wealthy as laying aside their wealth to pursue God’s kingdom is tough.  Mark 10:25 “ It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”  Jesus was sent to proclaim the good news of His kingdom and He sent the disciples out to proclaim it too.  Luke 9:2 “and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.”  Jesus used parables to describe His kingdom with the mustard seed and leaven in Luke 13:18-19,21 “He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? 19 It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.” 21 “It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three God's kingdommeasures of flour, until it was all leavened.”  All of these examples tell us that to see the kingdom of God we must have faith, as a child, set aside our worldly goals in pursuit of His kingdom,  be dedicated to telling others about Jesus and growing continually in our love for Jesus.

John tells us straight out how we can gain entrance into God’s kingdom.  Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  John 3:3    Paul explains in Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”  Entrance into God’s kingdom comes through faith in Jesus and the power of the romans 14 17indwelling Holy Spirit empowers us to live in and for His kingdom day by day.   Because of Jesus and His work on the cross, I can gain entrance into God’s kingdom now and forever through faith in Him.  Christ alone is the answer!

Linda

Suggestion:  Take inventory of your kingdom benefits- do you feel you have right standing with God because of Christ?  Do you have peace and joy from the inside out provided by the Holy Spirit?  Look to Jesus and ask Him with a repentant heart to clean your heart and mind and give you indwelling joy and peace.  He is faithful and will provide what you need to be whole.

Peace, do you have it?

peace-with-godBecause Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have peace with God.  Peace seems like such an illusive thing.  Some days I revel in it and some days it seems out of my reach.   What we can be assured of is that peace is ours through Christ and is always attainable.  Jesus said in John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  The peace Jesus gives is not worldly calm and freedom from activity,  but a peace that will satisfy our souls.  It is the peace the pervades us even when the world is swirling around us.  Paul describes this peace in Romans 5:1-2  “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.”   Paul assures us that the peace we have though Christ brings us into relationship with God, is filled with His grace,  and it will purposefully sustain us no matter what else is happening in our lives.

Since peace is ours for the taking in Christ, why do we struggle with it so much?  I think it is because of the pull of the world on our lives.  We are free in Christ from the power of sin over our lives,  but we live in a sinful world.  The effects of sin on us and our lives are unavoidable.  Staying above this and living in peace takes work, prayer, diligence to stay in the Word and fellowship with other believers.  Are you getting a dose of each of these in your life each day or week?  Lent is good time to renew commitments and take time to pray, read God’s Word, memorize a verse or two and have fellowship with other believers.  It is good for your soul and will bring you peace!

27733-jesus-peace.1200w.tn

Linda

Suggestion Today set aside time to pray, read the Word or talk with a Christian friend.  Then look for God’s peace to surround you!

What are you thinking?

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can have the mind of Christ.  In 1 Corinthians Paul is talking to the Corinthian believers about wisdom, and how we can know and discern the things of God.  The natural person does not accept the WE-have-the-mind-of-Christ-300x225things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”  1 Corinthians 2:14-16  With our natural mind we can’t know the things of God but with the indwelling Holy Spirit we can understand God and know Him.  The spiritual person is not to be judged by the opinions of unbelievers who consider the things of God to be foolish.  We are only held accountable to God.  His standard of conduct is the only one we need consider.  We are assured that the indwelt believer has the mind of Christ.

So what does that mean to you?  As I pondered what having Christ’s mind might mean, James 3:17 came to mind, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere”.   Having the mind of Christ would mean we have access to godly wisdom as described by James.   We can have pure thoughts, a spirit of peace in our words, gentle presentation of our thoughts to others, reasonable thoughts not prone to wander or be self-serving,  thoughts filled with mercy,  thoughts that produce good things for ourselves and others, thoughts without bias and thoughts that are always sincere not being fake in any way.  I know that having the mind of Christ is a growing process and does not happen overnight.  As we draw near to God we are promised in James 4:8 that God will draw near to us. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you,”  The closer we walk with Jesus the more we can think and act as He would.  A mind that is governed by Jesus would be glorifying to God and produce a vibrant and whole life for us.  Consider the words of James today as you go about your daily routine.  What part of the mind of Christ, the wisdom that comes from above, are you seeing in your life?

Linda

guidanceSuggestion:  Pray and ask God to give you thoughts from Christ’s mind today-pure, gentle, loving, filled with hope and mercy, without bias, and totally sincere.  See the difference it will make in how you feel and view others.

 

Are you seeing His Fruit?

HS fruitsBecause Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can have the Holy Spirit living within me. Scripture is filled with references to His indwelling Holy Spirit. We receive His Holy Spirit when we believe in Jesus.  It is His Holy Spirit within us that gives us hope, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  These are called the fruits of His Spirit living within us.  When we see these character traits being manifested in our lives, we know He is at work within us.

Here are some assurances from God’s Word about this amazing Holy Spirit that lives within each believer:  Ephesians 3:16 “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,”  His Spirit with gives us power for living!     2 Corinthians 1:22 “And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.”  His Spirit is a seal and guarantee of our salvation in JesusGalatians 4:6 “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”  His Spirit declares our sonship and allows us to call God our Father or Daddy.    1 John 4:13 “By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.”  His Spirit helps us to stay connected to Jesus.   Romans 8:11 “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”   His Spirit gives us a His spirit to be with us forever.

1 John 4 13Belief in Jesus and His work on the cross brings the Holy Spirit into our lives.  Rejoice in that hope today and look for His indwelling work within you.  He is there-alive and working in you!  He gives us the power to resist sin, stay connected to the Father and guarantees results.  His fruit is eternal and always for our good and His glory!

Linda

HS pearSuggestionToday- look for His fruit in your lifepeace where you might not have thought, patience where you usually would be impatient, joy where you did not expect it, a reaction to a situation with kindness, a deed unexpectedly done, a gentle touch or word to another, a trust in God that is unexpected but natural, showing self-restraint exactly when it is called for- any of these are the working of the Holy Spirit within you.  Rejoice and give Glory to God.

Where do you need hope? Jesus has it.

hope as long asBecause Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have hope.  One of the most precious things we possess in Christ is our eternal hope in God and His power to transform and use us to do His work.   Romans 5:1-2 gives us a list of God’s provision that results in hope for us.  Therefore, since we have been justified by faith (declared not guilt of our sins), we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”  Our hope in Jesus brings us freedom from sin’s guilt and punishment, peace, grace, and joy.  Oh! glorious 1 peter 1 21HOPE!   This same theme is repeated in 1 Peter 1:21 “Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.”   Because of Christ and His work on the cross,  we can know and trust God and our faith in Christ brings Him glory and us HOPE!

Where do you need the HOPE of Christ in your life today?  Are you feeling burdened by sin’s guilt? Give it to Jesus with a repentant heart and He will replace that guilt with hope.  Are you struggling with doubt or difficult circumstances? Give it to Jesus and He will replace it with peace which He gives freely bringing you hope. (John 14:27) Are you struggling as you feel alone or singled out?  Ponder God’s grace, His undeserved favor, and know that He promises His grace is sufficient for all our needs. (2 Corinthians 12:9) His grace will bring you hope.  Are you suffering from lack of joy?  Ask Jesus to restore the joy of your salvation and those thoughts of eternal rest and refuge with Him will bring you joy.     David knew the struggles of life and reminds us in Psalm 43:5              hope_in_god_by_blugi-d90ilc0 “Why am I discouraged?
    Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
 I will praise him again
   my Savior and my God!

May you Hope abound as you put your trust in God and firmly place your gaze upon Jesus.

Linda

SuggestionPass on the hope of Jesus todayforgive someone you have been holding something against, be a voice of peace, calm or joy to someone, or be gracious to someone today (giving them undeserved favor in your eyes).  The look of hope you see in their eyes will bring joy to you and give God glory.

Which attitudes are you ‘Be-ing’?

blessed2The longest list of blessings for the blessed man/woman is in Matthew.  They are commonly known as the BeatitudesEach one points to a blessing from God that will come to the person who lives a life of faith.   Reflect as you read each one and ask yourself- which of these do I see evidences of in my life?  Remember that blessed means-a gift of divine favor, happiness or something that will prevent misfortune.   Matthew 5:3-10

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.   (This refers to being humble- a blessed attitude,  not proud or arrogant)

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (This mourning is over our sins, and we are comforted in our salvation and redemption by Jesus.  Mourning or sadness will also be comforted by God.) 

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (Here again our meekness is before God, as in humility.)

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (I know this one to be true in my own life.  Studying God’s Word creates a hunger within me that only He can satisfy.  I pray that others will be blessed with this same hunger and receive the satisfaction only God can give.)

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. (This is promised compassion or mercy when we give or act mercifully.  God’s Kingdom does not operate the same way the world does and in His kingdom showing compassion or mercy will be returned in kind.  This is a wonderful assurance to believers.)

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Those who have clean hearts and attitudes will be able to see God, know God and walk with Him daily.  David prayed in Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”  God desires us to have an attitude of holiness, purity and cleanness in our hearts so we can see Him clearly.)

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (This applies to all believers as through Christ we are adopted into God’s family and are His sons and daughters.  Through our redemption, we are made peacemakers as ones who love Jesus and desire others to have His peace too.)

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Because of our faith in Jesus, the world will persecute us.  John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”  As believers we are encouraged by the conclusion of this verse-ours is the kingdom of heaven. Praise God!)

DBonfofferWhich resonated with you today?  Thank God for His gift of divine favor and presence in your life!

Linda

God’s Blessings effect our ENTIRE Life!

Psalm-128Psalm 128 gives a summary of blessedness for the believer who follows God and clings to Him in the midst of a sinful world.  The list of blessings is not all inclusive nor does it mean that because we do not experience these blessings something is wrong.  Rather, the believer can rest assured that God will bless him/her.  A truth that is seen throughout the Bible is that God blesses His people.  Faith brings blessings.

128     Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,      The believer is gifted by God      who walks in his ways!                                                as he walks with him each day.              

 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
    you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.       Your work is blessed.

 

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
    within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
    around your table.                                              Your home and family are blessed.

Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
    who fears the Lord.

The Lord bless you from Zion!
    May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
    all the days of your life!                                     Your city and nation are blessed.
May you see your children’s children!            Your life will be long 
    Peace be upon Israel!                                                    and filled with peace.

God blesses us each day as we walk with Him.  The blessings will look differently for each one of us but the truth of this psalm is that God’s blessings effect our entire life.  From our selves to our work to our home to our city and nation.   He blesses in all areas of our life and desires that we make an impact on those around us for the sake of the gospel.  Paul summarizes his reasons for work and ministry in 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share blessingswith them in its blessings.

As you walk with the Lord today, look for His blessings in your life.  Seek to share God’s blessings with others so they may come to know your Savior and seek Him too.

Linda

Got Blessings? Are you willing to follow and listen?

When I began this series on being blessed and what it means, I started with the definition of blessed.  Being blessed is receiving a gift of divine favor, receiving good wishes or approval or receiving anything that gives happiness or prevents misfortune.  Today’s scripture in Psalm 94:12 emphasizes the receiving of happiness and stopping of misfortune which results from being open to God’s instruction and discipline.  Psalm 94:8-13  is a bit longer in the Amplified version, it brings clarity to the passage.

Consider thoughtfully, you senseless (stupid ones) among the people;
And you [dull-minded] fools, when will you become wise and understand?

psalm 94 12He who made the ear, does He not hear?
He who formed the eye, does He not see?
10 
He who instructs the nations,
Does He not rebuke and punish,
He who teaches man knowledge?
11 
The Lord knows the thoughts of man,
That they are a mere breath (vain, empty, futile).

12 
Blessed [with wisdom and prosperity] is the man whom You discipline and instruct, O Lord,
And whom You teach from Your law,
13 
That You may grant him [power to calm himself and find] peace in the days of adversity,
Until the pit is dug for the wicked and ungodly.

The psalmist asks us to consider God and what He has done and what He knows. God can and does bless the one who follows His teachings, accepts His correction and direction and pays attention to the details of His Word.   The blessing comes when one follows God’s Word and finds God’s peace in the troubled times in which we live.

blessings-quoteHave you experienced God’s blessing of wisdom and success in your life?  Did the greatest blessings come when you followed His Word and walked with Him?  Was it a peace-filled time even though the world’s circumstances were in turmoil around you? According to scripture, you have been blessed.  The psalmist felt that way and finished this psalm in verses 23-24 with total dependence and trust in God and His power to defend and vanquish all his foes.

But the Lord has become my high tower and defense,
And my God the rock of my refuge.
23 
He has turned back their own wickedness upon them
And will destroy them by means of their own evil;
The Lord our God will wipe them out.

May you cling to Jesus today and trust Him to bless, guide and defend you as you walk with Him.

Linda

What’s in a Word?

Have you ever thought of having a Word for the year?  I had not done this until last year.  I was asked to choose a word for the year and then a Bible verse or verses to support me in that focus.  I prayed and asked God to give me a word to focus upon for 2018 and He gave me Hope.  I was amazed at how many times this word appeared in my study, my thoughts, my writing, etc.  Each time it would reassure me of His Hope that is within me and how all my hope is in Christ.  There were various verses I relied upon and you’d be amazed at how many times they appeared in my daily walk.   I did not focus on hope until spring as something I was doing required that I choose a word for the year.  Interestingly enough, God already had prepared me as my January 1 blog used Lamentations 3:21-22 which focused on hope.   I also used Jeremiah 29:11 and 1 Peter 3:15.    For 2019, I have chosen Trust as my word.  Right now I’m going through some things that required that I Trust in Him more than ever and not the world, things or people around me.  The verses I’ve chosen are Psalm 37:5 and Nahum 1:7. 

gods-word-personal2If you think this might help your focus for the year, pray and ask God to reveal to you a focus word for 2019.  Here are some suggestions and possible verses to support your word:

Joy- Psalm 16:11, Psalm 63:7, Habakkuk 3:18 or James 1:2

Hope–  Psalm 62:5, Psalm 147:11, Jeremiah 29:11, Lamentations 3:21-22, Romans 5:4-5 or 1 Timothy 4:10

Trust- Psalm 28:7, Psalm 31:14, Psalm 37:5, Proverbs 3:5-6 or  Jeremiah 17:7

Grace– John 1:16-17, Romans 3:24, 2 Corinthians 12:9, or Ephesians 1:7

Peace- Isaiah 26:3, Matthew 5:9, John 14:27 or Philippians 4:7.

god-ideas_guide-delightGod,  in His great providence, gives us so many resources to help us walk with Him in faith.  All His words,  we are reminded in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 are useful to us. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”  I pray that choosing a word will give you focus and support in the year ahead.  We desire to live for Him and as we are reminded in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”

May you have a blessed year filled with His Words!

Linda